Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates July 1805 - Part Four
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Journals of Lewis and Clark
Dates: July 13, 1805 - July 15, 1805

 

This article provides interesting facts about their historic journey taken from the Journals of Lewis and Clark dates July 13, 1805 - July 15, 1805.

Lewis and cClark Expedition: Jounal Dates July 13, 1805 - July 15, 1805

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates July 1805
 

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates July 13, 1805 - July 15, 1805
The following excerpts are taken from entries of the Journals of Lewis and Clark. Dates: July 13, 1805 - July 15, 1805

July 13, 1805
Saturday 13. The morning being fair and calm Captain Lewis had all the remaining baggage embarked on board the six canoes, which sailed with two men in each for the upper camp. Then with a sick man and the Indian woman, he left the encampment, and crossing over the river went on by land to join captain Clarke. From the head of the Whitebear islands he proceeded in a southwest direction, at the distance of three miles, till he struck the Missouri, which he then followed till he reached the place where all the party were occupied in boat-building. On his way he passed a very large Indian lodge, which was probably designed as a great council-house, but it differs in its construction from all that we have seen lower down the Missouri or elsewhere. The form of it was a circle two hundred and sixteen feet in circumference at the base, and composed of sixteen large cottonwood poles about fifty feet long, and at their thicker ends, which touched the ground, about the size of a man's body: they were distributed at equal distances, except that one was omitted to the east, probably for the entrance. From the circumference of this circle the poles converged towards the centre where they were united and secured by large withes of willow brush. There was no covering over this fabric, in the centre of which were the remains of a large fire, and round it the marks of about eighty leathern lodges. He also saw a number of turtledoves, and some pigeons, of which he shot one differing in no respect from the wild pigeon of the United States.

The country exhibits its usual appearances, the timber confined to the river, the country on both sides as far as the eye can reach being entirely destitute of trees or brush. In the low ground in which we are building the canoes, the timber is larger and more abundant than we have seen it on the Missouri for several hundred miles. The soil too is good, for the grass and weeds reach about two feet high, being the tallest we have observed this season, though on the high plains and prairies the grass is at no season above three inches in height. Among these weeds are the sandrush, and nettle in small quantities; the plains are still infested by great numbers of the small birds already mentioned, among whom is the brown curlew. The current of the river is here extremely gentle; the buffalo have not yet quite gone, for the hunters brought in three in very good order. It requires some diligence to supply us plentifully, for as we reserve our parched meal for the Rocky mountains, where we do not expect to find much game, our principal article of food is meat, and the consumption of the whole thirty-two persons belonging to the party, amounts to four deer, an elk and a deer, one buffalo every twenty four hours. The mosquitoes and gnats persecute us as violently as below, so that we can get no sleep unless defended by biers, with which we are all provided. We here found several plants hitherto unknown to us, and of which we preserved specimens.

Serjeant Ordway proceeded with the six canoes five miles up the river, but the wind becoming so high as to wet the baggage he was obliged to unload and dry it. The wind abated at five o'clock in the evening, when he again proceeded eight miles and encamped. The next morning,

July 14, 1805
Sunday, July 14, he joined us about noon. On leaving the Whitebear camp he passed at a short distance a little creek or run coming in on the left. This had been already examined and called Flattery run; it contains back water only, with very extensive low grounds, which rising into large plains reach the mountains on the east; then passed a willow island on the left within one mile and a half, and reached two miles further a cliff of rocks in a bend on the same side. In the course of another mile and a half he passed two islands covered with cottonwood, box-alder, sweet-willow, and the usual undergrowth, like that of the Whitebear islands. At thirteen and three quarter miles he came to the mouth of a small creek on the left; within the following nine miles he passed three timbered islands, and after making twenty-three and a quarter miles from the lower camp, arrived at the point of woodland on the north where the canoes were constructed.

The day was fair and warm; the men worked very industriously, and were enabled by the evening to lanch the boats, which now want only seats and oars to be complete. One of them is twenty-five, the other thirty-three feet in length and three feet wide. Captain Lewis walked out between three and four miles over the rocky bluffs to a high situation, two miles from the river, a little below Fort Mountain creek. The country which he saw was in most parts level, but occasionally became varied by gentle rises and descents, but with no timber except along the water. From this position, the point at which the Missouri enters the first chain of the Rocky mountains bore south 28 west about twenty-five miles, according to our estimate.

The northern extremity of that chain north 73 west at the distance of eighty miles.

To the same extremity of the second chain north 65 west one hundred and fifty miles.

To the most remote point of a third and continued chain of these mountains north 50 west about two hundred miles.

The direction of the first chain was from south 20 east to north 20 west; of the second, from south 45 east to north 45 west; but the eye could not reach their southern extremities, which most probably may be traced to Mexico. In a course south 75 west, and at the distance of eight miles is a mountain, which from its appearance we shall call Fort Mountain. It is situated in the level plain, and forms nearly a square, each side of which is a mile in extent. These sides, which are composed of a yellow clay with no mixture of rock or stone whatever, rise perpendicularly to the height of three hundred feet, where the top becomes a level plain covered, as Captain Lewis now observed, with a tolerably fertile mould two feet thick, on which was a coat of grass similar to that of the plain below: it has the appearance of being perfectly inaccessible, and although the mounds near the falls somewhat resemble it, yet none of them are so large.

July 15, 1805
Monday, July 15. We rose early, embarked all our baggage on board the canoes, which though light in number are still heavily loaded, and at ten o'clock set out on our journey. At the distance of three miles we passed an island, just above which is a small creek coming in from the left, which we called Fort Mountain creek, the channel of which is ten yards wide but now perfectly dry. At six miles we came to an island opposite to a bend towards the north side; and reached at seven and a half miles the lower point of a woodland at the entrance of a beautiful river, which in honor of the secretary of the navy we called Smith's river. This stream falls into a bend on the south side of the Missouri, and is eighty yards wide. As far as we could discern its course it wound through a charming valley towards the southeast, in which many herds of buffalo were feeding, till at the distance of twenty five miles it entered the Rocky mountains, and was lost from our view. After dining near this place we proceeded on four and three quarter miles to the head of an island; four and a quarter miles beyond which is a second island on the left; three and a quarter miles further in a bend of the river towards the north, is a wood where we encamped for the night, after making nineteen and three quarter miles.

We find the prickly pear, one of the greatest beauties as well as the greatest inconveniences of the plains, now in full bloom. The sunflower too, a plant common on every part of the Missouri from its entrance to this place, is here very abundant and in bloom. The lambsquarter, wild-cucumber, sandrush, and narrowdock are also common. Two elk, a deer, and an otter, were our game to-day.

The river has now become so much more crooked than below that we omit taking all its short meanders, but note only its general course, and lay down the small bends on our daily chart by the eye. The general width is from one hundred to one hundred and fifty yards. Along the banks are large beds of sand raised above the plains, and as they always appear on the sides of the river opposite to the southwest exposure, seem obviously brought there from the channel of the river by the incessant winds from that quarter: we find also more timber than for a great distance below the falls.

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Journals of Lewis and Clark - Dates: July 13, 1805 - July 15, 1805

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